Let’s recap.  When grace is used as a noun, its often in reference to a gift.  This gift is Jesus and the message of Jesus as Christ, our Savior.  As an adjective, we know that while grace is undeserved, it is abundant and wonderful, and that God gives it to us sufficiently.  When grace is used as a verb, its in regard to action – grace is seen in acts of kindness, generosity, sharing the Good News, and building others up, as well as being restorative.

In other words, we’ve learned about what grace is and how to act on it, but how do we receive it?

Through faith in Jesus.

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Without being a comprehensive study of receiving God’s grace, I’d like to highlight 3 different ways I found reference to receiving grace.

  1. Grace is Jesus and Jesus is grace.  Paul’s introduction to 1 Corinthians reads in part, “…the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:4).”  In this snippet, he writes of Jesus as God’s grace to us.  From Grace as a Verb we know that God’s grace was His act of kindness in giving us Jesus.  But there is more.  In the Gospel of John, we learn that grace is from Jesus, too.  As John explains, “For from [Jesus] we have all received grace upon grace…[as]…grace and truth came through Jesus (John 1:16-17).”  In these two examples we see that Jesus is both grace the noun and grace the verb.
  2. Grace as a conduit to faith.  In Acts, Luke gives a detailed account of the early Christian church.  In this history is a small section that describes the ministry of Apollos, who felt strongly about nurturing recent converts to Christianity in Achaia and Ephesus.  Luke writes of Apollos’ call to Achaia and Ephesus briefly: “When [Apollos] arrived there, he proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God’s grace, had believed (Acts 18:27, emphasis mine).”  Here we learn that God’s grace also acts as a precursor to faith. — Fast forward to today…how many people grow up knowing about God but are unable to comprehend the Bible and/or fail to see how it applies to their life?  I did!  But, when I was ready to accept Jesus as my Savior, to deliberately live a counter-cultural life for Christ, then God opened my eyes to the beauty of His word and the mystery that is the gospel. — God’s heart is that everyone would repent and choose to enter through the narrow gate leading to Him (Matthew 7:13-14).  Unfortunately, not everyone will.
  3. Grace through faith.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith…(Ephesians 2:8).”  The balance of salvation, of receiving God’s grace, rests on faith.  Jesus says, “Believe in God; believe also in me (John 14:1b).”  Several verses later Jesus explains further: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also  (John 14:6-7a).”

You see, in order to receive grace we must have faith in Jesus – His life, His death, and His resurrection.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

God’s grace is transforming as well as restorative.  By relying on the power of God, we can (and should) drop our baggage and our former way of life, which is given to anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk  (Colossians 3:8).  As believers we are to be examples of God’s grace to others; that is the only way to tame the ugly discourse when it arises.

“A soft answer turns way wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

We are called to be set apart, ready for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21).  As Paul writes, “You are not your own for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20).”

So we tame the discourse and are able to begin bridging the gap of our political divide with action, applying grace wonderfully abundant and undeservedly, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient, “that we may abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).”

Let the power of God transform your life!

Always seeking to be found in Him,

Nicki

(Why this series on grace? Read about it here.  The previous post was, Grace as a Verb.  Read it here).

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